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The Association for Early Learning Leaders (AELL) believes program excellence begins with strong leadership.  Owners and Executive Leaders play a key role in shaping early care and education. The Executive Invitational Series is an annual event featuring collaborative training and networking with Owners and Executive Leaders from around the country and beyond. Space is limited and participants must meet certain criteria in order to be eligible to attend.

National child care legal expert Ron McGuckin and successful multi-site owners Mary Hornbeck and Alix Hall, along with invited industry and business leaders, lead in-depth sessions and discussions. Key topics guide the sessions, but the group and its current needs and challenges formulate the true content. Participants share their challenges and successes while brainstorming new ideas and action steps that can be implemented when they return to their programs. This event provides networking opportunities uniquely designed to promote professional connections, resources, and relationships that support your executive leadership role for years to come. First time participants are required to attend a set of standard training sessions that will lay the foundation for ongoing training and engagement. Revitalization plays a key factor in leadership success and ample time is built into the schedule for relaxation, relationship building and recreation.

Dates and Location

September 13 – 17, 2021 (extended days available)

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort  | Hollywood Beach, FL

Please do not register for this event until you have received notification that your application has been approved.

About The Conference

The Executive Invitation Series is a collaborative institute with a small group of Owners and Executive Leaders of early learning programs from around the country.


Please do not register for this event until you have received notification that your application has been approved.

Conference Sponsors


Funshine Express


Who Should Attend?

Owners include listed proprietor(s) as well as next generation succession if currently serving in leadership role of a program(s) that provide direct early care and education for young children.

Senior Executive Leaders include organization Senior VPs and Senior Regional/National Executives of programs that provide direct early care and education for young children.

NOTE: The Executive Invitational Series is solely focused on direct care providers and is not an appropriate training event for agencies without direct care services.   Other child care and early education industry partners, resource and referral, or vendors interested in advertising or sponsorship opportunities should contact Lori Buxton, [email protected] for more information.

Criteria for Participation

  • Participants must be an AELL member in good standing.
  • Participants must be an Owner or Senior Executive with a program that provides direct early care and education services for young children.
  • Participants must submit a completed event application to be reviewed by the event committee to ensure all criteria has been met.
  • If accepted, participants must meet all payment due dates or invitation may be rescinded.

Application Process

Executive Leaders who have not previously attended this event are required to complete the Executive Series Invitational Application.  The application will be reviewed by the event committee to ensure participation criteria is met.  Applicants will be notified of application decision within seven (7) business days of submission.  Applications can be accessed in the following ways:

  • By invitation from an event alumnus who will request an application on your behalf
  • Downloading an application from the Association website

It is generally accepted that Owners may have key employees that are integral to the successful operation of their programs. The following parameters are in place for owners to invite these employees:

  • Owner must have participated in at least one (1) Executive Invitational Series Even (formerly known as Owners Only).
  • Owner must submit a written request for an Executive Invitation Series Application for another participant who is NOT an Owner of the agency
  • Participants agree to adhere to the Code of Conduct related to this event 


All cancellations must be made in writing or sent to [email protected]

  • Cancellations received before July 15, 2021 are refundable minus a $125 processing fee.
  • No-shows and cancellations received after July 15, 2021 will not be eligible for a refund. Funds may be transferred to another AELL event.





The Executive Invitational Series will take place at the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort in Hollywood, FL.

Important Note:

Participation in this event requires booking of the training nights through AELL.  No exceptions will be made. Extended nights can be booked through membership programs.


5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
  • Main Arrival Day
  • Meet & Greet At License to Chill Roof Top Bar
7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.Breakfast - One Particular Harbor (OPH) Foyer
8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.GENERAL SESSION: Welcome | Event Overview
Compass Room Ballroom North & East
9:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m.CLASS FORUMS: Hot Topics
Compass Room Ballroom North & East
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.BREAKOUT SESSIONS
Compass Room Ballroom North & East
7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.Breakfast - One Particular Harbor (OPH) Foyer
8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.GENERAL SESSION: TBA
Compass Room Ballroom North & East
7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.Breakfast - One Particular Harbor (OPH) Foyer

8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.


GENERAL SESSION:  Hot Topics Q & A with the Experts
Compass Room Ballroom North & East
7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.Breakfast - One Particular Harbor (OPH) Foyer

10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.


*Choose One
Compass Room Ballroom North & East
8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.GENERAL SESSION: TBA
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.GENERAL SESSION
  • WWRD
  • Latest Legal Trends with Ron McGuckin
Monday, Sep 13
5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Meet & Greet at License to Chill Rooftop Bar
Tuesday, Sep 14
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Welcome Dinner at License to Chill South
Thursday, Sep 16
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Evening Beer/Wine Reception
Compass Room Ballroom North & East
Thursday, Sep 16
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Farewell Dinner 
Compass Room Ballroom North & East
Room OptionPriceExtended Nights
  • Single Occupancy
  • Includes Training
$3,541 per person$353 per night per person
  • Double Occupancy
  • Includes Training
$2,881 per person$158.50 per night per person
  • Double Occupancy-Companion
  • Does Not Include Training
$1,781 per person$158.50 per night per person

Ron McGuckin, J.D. | Ronald V. McGuckin and Associates | www.childproviderlaw.com

Ron is a practicing attorney in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with many years of experience in child care law. He is a lecturer and consultant, training child care professionals on a variety of management and legal issues. He has co-authored a variety of publications, including “Current Issues in Child Care”. Mr. McGuckin has volunteered on numerous boards and committees, receiving many awards and recognitions and currently serves AELL as Board President.

Mary Hornbeck

Mary Hornbeck, Owner/Executive Director-Special Beginnings Early Learning Centers

Mary Hornbeck began her career in early care and education in 1989 when she became the owner of Special Beginnings Early Learning Centers. Her company has grown through the years with 5 locations that serve over 275 families. As Executive Director, Mary leads a 10 member management team and 75 staff members. Mary holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Life from the University of Kansas. As a national trainer and consultant, topics include: leadership & management, staff development, as well as early education policy & procedure. Mary is active in her local ECE community, is a member of the Association for Early Learning Leaders, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and Women Who Mean Business.



The exclusive 2021 Executive Invitational Series will take place at the beautiful Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort in Hollywood, FL. 

Inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of singer, songwriter and author Jimmy Buffett, Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort is a destination resort and entertainment complex on the legendary Hollywood Beach Broadwalk. Hollywood Beach is a classic South Florida beach town that’s enchanted visitors since the 1920s. Often compared to quaint European and funky California beach towns, the character of this inviting area is all Florida. 

With an extensive array of amenities and a high level of hospitality, service and attention to detail, the 369-room 18-story destination resort is the perfect setting for guests to escape the everyday and just chill. Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort brings an entirely different resort perspective to South Florida with its unique, authentic, “no worries,” tropical vibe and the feeling of escape that is experienced immediately upon arrival.


Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) is the just 15 minutes away from your resort. Miami International Airport (MIA) is a 30 minute trip to your resort destination.


Uber and LYFT offer service to both local airports.  Taxi service is available as well for an average of $20-25 each way.


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